SQUAD BACK AT DE KUIP

The team bus pulled into the car park at De Kuip around half past four Friday afternoon bringing the Feyenoord squad back from its Weiler training camp. A week in southern Germany saw a win and a loss against good quality European opposition. Patrick Paauwe for one gave the trip the thumbs up, calling the German jaunt ‘very useful.’ The club captain feels the players and coaches have learned lessons from the experience. ‘Yesterday’s defeat maybe taught us the most.’

Paauwe confessed to a large dose of travel-lag after a day on the go. ‘Really very tiring. First we were in the bus for two and a half hours. Then the flight and another forty-five minutes in the bus. It wears you down.’ The defender was more enthusiastic about the progress made on the grass. ‘We played two useful games. Yesterday especially taught us a lot. You can draw two conclusions. We either have to fine-tune the diamond in midfield or throw the diamond idea out. The coach has the final say.’

Patrick Mtiliga didn’t start either game, but he doesn’t feel his trip was wasted. ‘On the contrary. It was perfect. I was able to work hard on my fitness. This week has done me good. I hope to convince the coach of my qualities over the coming time. There’s no guarantees, because I’m up against Ramon van Haaren and Pascal Bosschaart for my position. But I’m upbeat.’

Romeo Castelen also enjoyed the experience. ‘It was tougher than I was used to at ADO, but I’m at peak fitness now.’ The right-sided attacker recently cracked a bone in his finger, but hasn’t felt any negative effects in the heat of the battle. ‘The games went okay. My finger’s doing reasonably well. It was a bit difficult in tackles, but it wasn’t that troublesome. I look back on the last week with satisfaction.’

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